We descended on The Spot Grill&Bar only a few days after the opening, but one thing is already clear: the beach food stand revolution that broke out last year continues at full throttle. The cool new burger joint in Vonyarc was launched by an entrepreneur from Keszthely, who makes the buns based on his grandma’s recipe, and serves a dish that baffles even the most experienced gastro fans.
Once occupied by a retro watering hole called Alibi bar, the lakeside building that houses The Spot was transformed by Ádám Sipos with the support of his family and friends. We’re pretty sure that the former regulars of the revamped cocktail bar would have no problem with the new design and concept: the fresh eatery offers a viable alternative to the likes of lángos, hot dog, and pizza in a way that combines the old with the new.
Like at most grill bars, the griddle plays a central role here, and there’s full transparency: patrons can get a close view of how the savory new-wave treats are being prepared. In true bistro style, everything is made on the spot, and the menu features simple creations with a refreshing twist. Ádám originally wanted to open a classic, American grill bar, but he eventually decided to not break away entirely from the traditional trends of beach food, and use subtle hints instead of radical methods to introduce new flavors into Balaton beach gastronomy.
Born out of the marriage of lángos and hamburger, The Spot Burger is a representation of this unique approach. The strange fusion may sound frightening at first, but the actual result is truly special: the juicy patty and the onion jam are not packed into a classic bun, but a thinner version made from regular lángos batter.
Ádám’s main aim is to encourage the clientele of old-fashioned beach food stands to get gradually acquainted with new flavors. He said he had no idea that the unusual combination was already invented in America three years ago: in 2013 the lángos burger of Brooklyn’s Korzo was featured on Nypost.com.
How is the lángos burger different from filled lángos? The patty, the onion jam, and the sauces are not place between two sheets of fried dough, nor are they filled into a single lángos folded in half; the method of preparation is much more spectacular. The meat is pre-fried, then coated in lángos batter, and fried in sizzling oil.
Finally, the bun is cut in half, and that’s when the onion jam and the various sauces are added. The burger costs 1,450 forints, which also includes mixed salad, fried potatoes, or coleslaw with an extra sauce. The price of the menu is below the average price range of Budapest burgers, but you get a hearty portion for your money.
A more traditional burger is also available at an equally reasonable price: the complete menu is 1,200 forints. We tried the divinely seasoned, griddled honey and ginger chicken breast (1,890 forints), and the favorite dish of our host, the almond-crusted trout (1,950 forints). We came to the conclusion with Ádám that the trout would have needed a little more salt, but that’s not an unforgivable mistake, especially on one of the first days after the official launch.
The owner of The Spot was born in Keszthely, and ever since he got his first taste of the catering industry, he’s dreamed about opening his own business. After graduating from the local vocational school of hospitality and tourism management, he started attending Budapest Business School where he realized that he’s loves being “in the field”, waiting tables, and he’s in his element when he can serve great food to lots and lots of people at a jam-packed restaurant.
Ádám is building his business very consciously: he wants to focus on the current summer season, and not worry about staying open all year yet. He really has the backing of his whole family; everyone is happy to contribute to the success of The Spot. His grandma is tirelessly working on creating the perfect bun recipe, while his sister Eszter Sipos – who’s the founder of the funky sock brand Nebouxii – helped with the fresh and hip design of the venue. Anyone who knows the works of Kata Kerekes, Eszter’s business partner, will recognize the pattern adorning the tables and chairs. Kata, who’s also responsible for crafting the stylish Balaton gastro maps, was involved in inventing the entire interior, which is dominated by two main colors, pastel blue and graphite.
We dropped by on a cloudy day in the pre-season period, so we didn’t have to pay for entering the beach, but from now on guests will have to shell out 750 forints on weekends to gain access to the tasty creations of The Spot. Ádám has plenty of surprises planned for the season: he has a bunch of delicious breakfast ideas, but he’s definitely going to take the feedback of his customers into account when he finalizes the menu.
Ádám is eager to learn, and judging by the friendly, attentive service we got, we really think he runs on some kind of battery that’s powered by the number of orders he takes.